Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thing 23: Is this really the end? Or just the beginning ...

Cool Slideshows

Wow! Congratulations!! You’ve reached the 23rd thing. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the program. Your reward for completing this journey before the June 6th deadline is a useful and handy RCA Flash Memory MP3 Player. But before sending this off you, I ask for one last discovery post.

For your last and final exercise for this program please reflect on your learning journey and post a few thoughts. Here are some questions to prompt you if you're drawing a blank ...

  • What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
  • How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
  • Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?And last but not least…
  • If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining us on this journey. My greatest hope is that this is not the end of our learning journey together as a staff and a system, but rather it’s just the start of something amazing …

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thing 22: Audiobooks (or "The end is near")

With your new MP3 player right around the corner, it’s time to take a look around NetLibrary and downloadable eAudiobooks.
Downloadable eAudiobooks is a service provided by Recorded Books which is available through the library’s subscription to NetLibrary.
To establish a NetLibrary account, you must first create your acocunt through the LCPL site. But once you have a Netlibrary user name and password (I know, I know … you’re tired of user names and passwords, but I promise this is the last user account for this program that you’ll have to create) you can access NetLibrary directly and bypass the LCPL site.
For this discovery exercise, you merely need to familiarize yourself a bit with the structure of NetLibrary's Downloadable eAudiobooks site and get an idea of the types of titles you can find here. Take a look around and locate a few titles of interest. That MP3 player is right around the corner and once you have it, you’ll definitely have a reason to try out this popular library service.
Discovery Resources:
  • Introduction to Netlibrary* - this 12 minute tutorial covers the downloading process for Netlibrary audiobooks using Windows Media Player 10. (be patient, it may take a few minutes to upload this for viewing)

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Establish a Netlibrary account for yourself by accessing Netlibrary through the LCPL site. Note: If you are not a member of the LCPL staff or don’t have a LCPL library card, full access to NetLibrary may not be available.
  2. Once you have an account created, you can access NetLibrary directly at
  3. Click on the eAudiobooks link and explore some of the 1300 + titles.
  4. Create a blog post about your findings. Did you locate a title that you might want to try out and download once you have your player?

OPTIONAL: Try downloading a title from the NetLibrary. You don’t have to have a portable player to listen to audiobooks, you can also listen to it from your home computer as well.

* Tutorial created by Mary Kyle (PLCMC) using free screencasting software Wink.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thing 21: Podcasts, Smodcasts!

The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS.
In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by New Oxford American Dictionary and with the growth of podcasting over the last 24 months, it's easy to see why.
Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries (like the ones used in this Learning 2.0 program) to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.
iTunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options.
For this discovery exercise participants are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Bloglines account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.

Discovery Resources:

  • There are many, many podcast directories and finding tools out there. Here are just three of the more popular ones that, unlike iTunes, don't require a software download:
    o Yahoo Podcasts

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. See if you can find some interesting library related podcasts here like book review podcasts or library news.
  2. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Bloglines account
  3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thing 20: You too can YouTube

Within the past year online video hosting sites have exploded allowing users to easily to upload and share videos on the web. Among all the web 2.0 players in this area, YouTube is currently top dog serving up over 1 million video views a day and allowing users not only to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites easily.

Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from 1970s TV commercials and 60s music videos to library dominos and kids singing about bloopers here. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot stuff not worth watching too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore and see for yourself what the site has too offer. :)

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.

  2. Create a blog post about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or componets of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites?

OPTIONAL: Try placing the video inside your blog using the copy and paste code for the for "Embeddable Player.” Note: you'll need to use Blogger's Edit HTML tab when pasting this code.

Other popular video hosting sites:
· Yahoo Videos
· Google videos
· Others - top video site list

NOTE: Videos, like music downloads, are bandwidth hogs. It is recommended that you complete this exercise during light internet usage times.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Thing 19: Discovering Web 2.0 tools

[Sorry, no podcast for this "thing." You'll have to exercise your eyes instead.]

Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of these new internet technologies and websites that are empowering users with the ability to create and share content. But given time there are so many more we could explore. Current estimates place the number of web 2.0 tools at somewhere between 300 & 500 with only a handful emerging as market dominators. And although time will only tell which of these new collaborative, social networking and information tools will remain on top, onething is for sure, they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).
For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to select any site from this list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees and explore it. With so many to choose from, it might be handy to first select a category that interests you (like Books or Personal Organization) and then simply select a tool/site to explore. Be careful to select a tool that is Free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download. The majority of these free, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Select any site/tool from the list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees. (If you prefer to select from just the winners, here’s a link to the short list.)
  2. Explore the site you selected.1.
  3. Create a post about your discovery. What did you like or dislike about the tool? What were the site’s useful features? Could you see any applications for its use in a library setting?

Web 2.0 – with so much to explore, just start with ONE. :)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thing 18: Web-based Apps: They're not just for desktops

The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past two years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree; web-based apps have their place.
One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another bonus is that they easy accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs* (formerly known as Writely) to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing.
For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to take a look at a web-based word processing tool called Zoho Writer, create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog. If you're up to the challenge, you might even export your document as an HTML file or publish it through Zoho to your blog.
Discovery Resources:
Discovery Exercise:
  1. Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer.
  2. Explore the site and create a few test documents of two.
  3. Try out Zoho Writer’s features and create a blog post about your discoveries.

Optional: If you're up for the challenge, try using Zoho’s "publish" options to post to your blog.

* Note: You can also explore Google Docs (formerly known as Writely), Google's online word processer, as an option for this exercise. On Oct 11th, Google relaunched Writely (which it acquired in Spring 2006) as Google Docs.